Chichester District Council has pledged its support for West Sussex County Council in 'cracking down' on Blue Badge Fraud in the district.
According to council figures, an estimated one in five Blue Badges are misused, costing the UK economy £46 million each year. Misuse of Blue Badges can cause problems for genuine users, leaving vulnerable people unable to get to their destination.
Blue Badges enable people with disabilities or health conditions affecting their mobility to park closer to their destination, such as in dedicated disabled parking bays on street and in car parks, and in other permitted parking bays and single or double yellow lines.
Tony Dignum, leader of Chichester District Council said: "Blue Badges are meant to help people who are disabled or have limited mobility, but fraud is a big problem which can mean that the people who need them the most suffer.
"By increasing the level of enforcement in the Chichester District, we hope to reduce that problem in our area. We understand that the Blue Badge scheme can sometimes be confusing for users so I would encourage anyone who is unsure of the rules to speak to the team at West Sussex County Council."
As part of a crackdown of Blue Badge misuse across West Sussex, Chichester District Council's civil enforcement officers are supporting the Blue Badge team at West Sussex County Council to tackle Blue Badge misuse in the area.
Trained investigators have been working with the council's civil enforcement officers on special enforcement days to detect and retain Blue Badges which are being used fraudulently. This approach has been successfully trialled across the UK and in neighbouring districts and boroughs. The council's civil enforcement officers have also been trained to spot fraudulent Blue Badges on their daily patrols.
WSCC has been working in partnership with CDC and other district and borough councils to ensure people are being compliant with the Blue Badge scheme. As a result, across the county, there have been six successful prosecutions and 80 individuals have attended community resolutions, a council spokesman said.
Community resolutions are offered as a first-level way of dealing with offences and are formal warnings in which people agree to attend and information session so that the consequences of their actions can be explained.
Amanda Jupp, WSCC's cabinet member for adults and health, said: "Blue Badge misuse is not only fraud, but can mean that genuine, vulnerable users are deprived of vital services because parking spaces are taken by fraudsters. This could include spaces near doctors' surgeries, chemist or other community facilities.
If anyone is unsure about how the scheme operates, they can find out more by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/bluebadge."